The Tradition and Rituals of the Inuit People

Avatar

/ published 3 years ago

The Tradition and Rituals of the Inuit People

The Inuit people have a long tradition of oral literature and storytelling. Before they had a writing system, they passed stories from one generation to another

Many of the traditions of the Inuit people, including language, beliefs, customs, and so on, have develop over thousands of years. They believe that humans, animals, and forces of nature had spirits, and when something went wrong, the spirits were not happy.

The Inuit people have a long tradition of oral literature and storytelling. Before they had a writing system, they passed stories from one generation to another. And that is how they preserved their own tradition and culture. Inuit legends and history was kept alive by storytelling, and that is how we learn about their tradition nowadays.

The Inuit Religion

As mentioned previously, the Inuit religion is “animism”. They believe that all living and non-living things have a spirit. That includes humans, animals, forces of nature, but also inanimate objects. When a spirit dies, the spirit continues to live in a different world, the one Inuit people call the spirit world.

Powerful religious leaders like Shamans have enough power to control the spirits. They use charms and dances as a way to communicate with the spirit world. Shamans wore cared masks, in most cases representing an animal while performing the ritual. The Inuit people believed that the masks have power to enable the Shaman to communicate with the spirits.



In order to please the spirits, Shamans often recommended that the Inuit people offer gifts to the spirits.

The Spirits of the Inuit People

Let’s talk more about the Spirits of the Inuit people. There were certain guidelines that they were supposed to follow to make the spirits happy. Illnesses, bad hunt, and bad weather, all of these conditions were blamed on displeased spirits.

The Inuit people had a ritual for hunting and eating food, all just so they can please the spirits living in the animals. While hunting, the Inuit people had to pay a deep respect to the spirit of the animal, just so that the spirit would reappear in another animal. If they did not pay their respect, it was believed that the spirit would reappear as a demon.

Souls, or spirits of humans could also be lost and stolen due to madness and illness. In the belief system of the Inuit, the human was made of three parts: body, name, and soul. When an individual dies, the body was the only part to die. The spirit and the name continue to live in a new body. Names of dead relatives were given to babies to ensure that the soul and name could continue living.

Ceremonies

There were many ceremonies that helped the Inuit people practice their religion and belief system. The main instrument of the ceremonies was dancing and one-sided drum. The drums were made of walrus stomach, walrus bladder, or caribou skin stretched over a wooden hoop.

Drum dances occurred inside large snow houses (called igloos) with up to 60 people. During the singing and dancing, Inuit people told stories of the spirits. There were dances of different nature. Some were religious, others were for welcoming travelers or celebrating a hunt.

In terms of religious rituals, Shamans performed healing rituals in ceremonial houses called Kashims.

After a large hunt, the ceremony called “Bladder Dance” was performed. The Inuit people believed that the soul of the animals was inside the bladder so they honored the bladder, and returned it to the sea so it can find a new body.

The Sea Woman

The most important spirit in the Inuit world, tradition, religion, and culture was the Goddess of the Sea, called Sedna. They believed she lived at the bottom of the ocean and controlled the seal, whales, and other sea animals.



If they made Sedna happy, she would provide food for them. She is also known as the “lubricious one”. Her representation is different, depending on the region where the Inuit people live.

From Around the Web

Related Videos

History
back to chernobyl
youtube icon
42:27
New

On April 26, 1986, the disaster at Chernobyl happened and completely changed the world we live in. It remains one of the worst nuclear accidents in history.Now, this documentary sh...

  • 111
  • 5 days ago
  • Not Rated

Witchcraft is the practice of what the practitioner believes to be magical skills and abilities such as using spells, incantations, and magical rituals. Witchcraft is a broad term ...

  • 225
  • 2 weeks ago
  • Not Rated

When we talk about gods and mythology, we often talk about Greek Gods and Roman Gods. But there are so many other fields that we rarely discuss about.For example, Chinese mythology...

  • 199
  • 2 weeks ago
  • Not Rated
History
life under Henry VII
youtube icon
58:32

The Tudor Period in England occurred between 1485 and 1603 in England and Wales. The Tudors ruled the country for 118 years. During that period, they encouraged new religious ideas...

  • 258
  • 3 weeks ago
  • Not Rated
Related Articles
In 1588, King Philip II of Spain sent his fleet to collect the army from the Netherlands, where they were fighting. The ...
  • 159
  • 1 week ago
Psychologist Alfred Bined developed the first IQ test, helping the French government to identify schoolchildren needing ...
  • 199
  • 2 weeks ago
Did you know Sudan has almost twice as many Pyramids as Egypt? To be precise, Sudan has 255 pyramids scattered across th...
  • 223
  • 3 weeks ago
As one of the earliest civilizations in the history, Egyptians contributed so much to humanity. They had numerous discov...
  • 620
  • 3 months ago